France Ligue 2 – AS Nancy Season Preview 2020/21

Nancy Defence

Baptiste Valette is the starting goalkeeper and to be honest I have never been personally convinced by him. He has his good and bad moments but isn’t the sort of keeper I would ever call ‘elite’ at this level of football. Martin Sourzac is the proper definition of a ‘backup’ and only once in his whole career was he a regular starter in any campaign. The defence itself perhaps lacks some depth but when at full strength the Nancy backline should be fairly decent. Ernest Seka and Abdelhamid El Kaoutari are two very experienced and physical defenders who are dependable. Out wide, Saliou Ciss and Souleymane Karamoko aren’t bad either, with Ciss especially a great option anywhere on the left hand side. Nancy have signed full back Rosario Latouchent from Laval in the National (3rd) Division and welcome back Sega Coulibaly and Mathias Fischer from loans. Perhaps they could do with some more quality depth but this defence is very acceptable. Nancy’s best defensive midfielder is Ogou Akichi and they have some playmakers at this position like Gregoire Lefebre, Kenny Rocha Santos and youngster to keep an eye on Giovanni Haug.

Key players - Saliou Ciss (DL), Ernest Seka (DM)

Youngster to watch - Giovanni Haag (DM)

Nancy Offense

Goalscoring wasn’t exactly their greatest strength last season, netting just 27 times in 28 games. They have lost both Vagner and Makhtar Gueye who contributed 12 of those goals between them. To be honest, their offense was never really the same after Wagner went down injured at the end of November. Saliou Ciss actually weighed in with 6 goals last year, but that was when he operated from wide midfield or left wing. I don’t think they can expect the same sort of output if he becomes the main left back. Nancy’s most talented attacking player is Amine Bassi. Every year he is linked with a move away from the club but the latest rumour is he will sign a new 1 year contract extension. Bassi could leave for free next summer and he is a moody type of guy who can blow hot or cold. If he is in the mood Bassi is a major asset for Nancy though. New signing from lower league side Epinal Mickael Biron has started well by bagging a brace vs Guingamp. He is listed as a primary striker but has played more as a #10 so far and looks useful. Ousmane Cissokho offers some experience out wide and Dona Ndoh a veteran striker backup option. It looks like youngster returning from loan Vinni Triboulet is going to be the main starting striker, for now. Nancy could probably do with a proper class #9 upfront and some extra depth in this area. They will be competitive enough but probably not frighten good defences too much unless Bassi is in great form. From creative midfield it’s a shame new signing Mehdi Merghem has injured his ACL and will be out until at least February.

Key players - Amine Bassi (AM), Mickael Biron (ATT/AM)

Youngster to watch - Vinni Triboulet (ATT)

Coaching, other factors & conclusion

Nancy have had off the field problems with money for a few years now. They have been indebted to Jacques Rousselot who has single handedly kept this club out of the red in recent years. We know he is looking to sell to someone this season. The ‘City Group’ were linked but have instead decided to invest at Troyes. In Jean Louis Garcia Nancy have a solid sort of manager who is dependable and experienced at this level of football. Garcia has achieved a promotion out of Ligue 2 before and is a good balanced sort of manager. Nancy drew a ridiculous number of matches last season - a whopping 16 out of 28! They have started this new campaign with a 0-1 loss at Amiens and then already one draw on their card vs Guingamp (2-2). I see them as a mid table sort of outfit somewhere between 10th and 13th. I just don’t think there is enough overall squad depth or quality to launch a bid towards the top half, but equally Nancy should have enough to easily avoid any sort of relegation fight. The Lorraine outfit had the 3rd highest average attendance in the league last season (10,195) so it will hit them a bit to basically have just half of that crowd under the new restrictions. It could be an inconsistent campaign because on their day they can probably beat anyone, but also struggle against someone poor. Lack of goals might be a problem and they probably need to strengthen in the final third.

Prediction:- 13th Midtable